October 13, 2003

A couple of fun Ted Rall items

Michele reports that Rall's got a blog now! And she's reading it so we don't have to. It's interesting to note some of his previous thoughts on blogs, from right around this time last year. I found them in the archives of my old blog. Let's look back the wit and the wisdom of Mr. Ted Rall, shall we?

I'm still studying the blog phenomenon so my opinions are still in a state of flux. But they are worrisome. While they're obviously a function of free speech in and of themselves, the right-wing bloggers (seems to be most of them for some reason) often use their Borg-like structure to stifle free speech.

Specifically, they link up to an article or cartoon or whatever that they disagree with. That link spreads like wildfire, and soon they're all asking their readers to deluge the relevant creator or writer's publications with hate mail.

To the non-initiated editor the sudden deluge of hundreds or thousands of e-mails might seem like a spontaneous outburst of rage from his readers; in reality, it's an orchestrated Internet lynch mob.

Welcome, Ted, to the hivemind of orchestrated free-speech lynchers and what have you! And then there was this:

...right-wing bloggers are not trying to bring my work to a wider audience. If they were they would maintain constant links to my cartoons on their sites, much as they do to sites whose politics agree with their own. Instead they let cartoon after cartoon get posted on my site without being referenced. Then, when they find that one out of 50 they think will provoke right-wingers to rage, they post a link to that one piece along with a comment along the lines of "here's another piece of shit by that asshole."

It isn't fair to judge a cartoonist by a single cartoon, any more than it is to take one quote from Bush and riff on it. But these guys aren't interested in fair-minded political disagreement--they're cyber bullies. But it doesn't matter much: nobody's paying attention to the bloggers other than the bloggers themselves. They are dead.

Not anymore -- Ted is here to bring them back to life. He's like a punk-rock Jesus!

So anyway, I'll just quote one thing from his new blog because it's hilarious. He's explaining to somebody why he has "e-mail guidelines":

I figure, if I'm going to reply to anyone, it's gonna be my fans, not people who hate my guts and wish I was dead. And yes, I also pledge to report people who threaten me to their ISPs and law enforcement authorities. Given how many nuts there are in the world, it's stupid to assume that people who send you a death threat aren't serious about it. So yeah, I take these things seriously. Think about it: when's the last time you sent a death threat to someone whose opinion you disagreed with? Right. Most people don't do that. So, when someone does, they should be reported.

The reason it's hilarious is that he once interpreted the following Usenet post as a "death threat":

Dear Santa:

Please let somebody kill Ted Rall while he's in Afghanistan.

That's the only thing I've ever asked for in my life for Christmas, except the Six Million Dollar Man with all the extra arms, and I promise I'll never ask for anything else.

--Virginia

Rall told the guy he'd forwarded the "threat" to the "proper authorities." The investigation by the CIA (Christmastime Interceptors of Assassination) is ongoing, presumably. But they must be doing something right, because this happened a couple of Yuletides ago and Rall's still alive. No word yet if that bitch Mrs. Claus was in on it.

Posted by Jim Treacher at October 13, 2003 09:03 PM